Bring on the Insanity

The month of October is really the start of craziness in my house.  We have so many things going on between now and the end of spring that life gets messy.  It is when practices ramp up in preparation for competition season to start in December, school is in the thick of things, holiday activities get planned and added to the calendar, and it is the biggest season for my businesses and for my husband at work. I actually woke up with a migraine yesterday because I didn’t sleep well with all the things running around in my head that I needed to remember to do.  Then I couldn’t fall asleep last night and woke up at 4:00 AM this morning for the same reason.  Too much is rolling around in my brain.  It can all be a little overwhelming and super exhausting.  I have been hearing all of my friends saying the same things about their lives right now. It is so hard to keep up with everything, and sometimes you get that feeling that you are drowning.  The biggest thing that consumes most of our time is the girls’ sports, and I know my friends would agree.  They way kids’ sports are these days is pretty intense.   If you are really serious about the sport, it requires a million hours of practice and tons of games or competitions.  The world is so much more competitive now than when I was a child.  I was a dancer for much of my childhood, but I didn’t do competitions. We just had a yearly recital.  I am pretty sure I practiced no more than twice a week for an hour or two at the most. Then I quit dance so that I could play basketball and cheer in middle and high school.  I didn’t do basketball or cheer outside of school either.  We practiced for a couple of hours right after school, and it wasn’t nearly as intense as club sports are now.  I guess there were club sports when I was a kid, but I don’t recall anyone that I knew that did a sport outside of school.  It is the total opposite now.  Everyone we know is doing some kind of club sport outside of school sports and also tries to fit in the same sport or more through school.  It is insane.  My oldest practices 5 days a week for 3-4 hours at a time for gymnastics, and my youngest practices 3 times a week for 1-3 hours at a time for cheer.  It is a lot to keep up with because every day is different times and every day is a different carpool.  Then my oldest is also on the gymnastics team for her high school, which adds additional hours of practice after the club practice.  It really is insane. Trying to keep up with who goes where and when and who is driving who and when is nearly impossible.  Let’s not forget to throw in the fact that both my husband and I have jobs to do, the girls have schoolwork to do, and we all also have other outside responsibilities (like being the Vice President of the gymnastics parents’ club and helping to make all of the cheer gifts and spirit wear). It seems to never end.

Don’t get me wrong. All of these are things that we happily do and want our kids to do because they love it so much, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t get to be too much sometimes.    It doesn’t mean that we don’t mess up and forget things occasionally, and it certainly doesn’t mean that we aren’t all totally exhausted all the time.  It is a sacrifice that we choose to make, but it is a sacrifice nonetheless.  I am telling you all this just to say that I am tired and it has only just begun.  Forgive me for grammar and spelling mistakes over the next several months, as my brain may not be functioning at full capacity.  Wait, who am I kidding? I make mistakes even when I am 100%.  LOL! Seriously, though, I am asking for grace…grace for me, grace for all those other moms and dads who are in the same boat, and grace for all of these kids who are doing way more than most of us ever even thought of doing at their age. When you see that mom or dad with the dark circles and bags under their eyes, don’t judge them. Instead, give them a pat on the back and tell them they are doing a great job.  Tell them that you know how they feel and that it’s okay.  I promise you, they will appreciate it. Then, to all of you parents who know what I am talking about, hang in there.  Enjoy the little moments because they will be over before you know it, and you will miss the chaos.  Just hold on tight and bring it all on.  You can handle it.  This is what you were made for. 

Anchored,

Haircuts are for the Birds!

Both of my daughters have really long hair, and I can’t stand it. It isn’t because I don’t like long hair.  Instead it is because neither of them takes good care of their hair, it always looks like a stringy mess, and I’m the one who has to deal with it for competitions. My oldest pretty much keeps hers in a ponytail 90% of the time anyway, so what is the point of having it so long? My youngest daughter’s hair is so bad that you can barely get a brush through it most days.  I swear I will fight through brushing it to get through all the tangles only to have it a tangled mess again within 5 minutes.   It drives me nuts. Neither of them like getting their hair cut either and actually only get their hair cut about twice a year when I have to force them to go. Today was one of those days.  You would have thought that I was making the lady shave my youngest daughter’s head by the way she was acting. She did not want anything cut from her hair.  She won’t listen to anything I have to say about how your hair needs to be cut to remain healthy and for it to grow.  The stylist even tried telling her the same thing, but my daughter wasn’t having any of it. Thankfully, my oldest has learned to just accept it and allow hers to be trimmed.  That’s the thing, too. I was only forcing them to have a trim.  It wasn’t like they were cutting 6 inches of their hair off.  I think both of them ended up getting about 2 inches cut off.  You honestly can’t even tell that they even got a haircut, but my youngest was furious.  She was texting me the entire time that her hair was being cut saying that it was too short now. As we walked to the car afterward, she said it was too much and that her hair was now ugly.   Her friend that was with us told her that you couldn’t even tell that she got it cut. My child just fussed at her friend saying that she was only saying that because I told her to, which I did not do. You really can’t tell.  Her hair is still ridiculously long, and I will still have to fight the tangles.  

Why do simple things like a haircut have to be so difficult? Where did I go wrong with that? I sure wish I knew the answer.  I think they must have gotten it from their father. I seem to remember stories of him refusing to get his hair cut as a child and pictures of him with longer hair. LOL! We all know that it didn’t come from me because I have shared the horrible pictures of me with the short, permed hair forced on me as a child!!!  I still have nightmares about it. Ha ha! At least I am not forcing them to get a perm! No matter where it came from or wherever we went wrong, my kids have to get their hair trimmed every now and then.  It is just a fact of life.  I feel like it will continue to be a fight, at least with the youngest, for years to come.  Maybe one day we will see eye to eye, but I doubt it! Until then, I will continue to drag the youngest kicking and screaming to the salon, and I will continue to pull half of her hair out trying to detangle it every day. Someone please tell me that I am not alone in this and that it is worth the fight! I may loose my mind!  

Anchored,

Medicine & Kids Don’t Mix

My sister called me this morning to see if I could talk my nephew into taking his medicine. He has the flu and is very sick but won’t take the medicine.  I just talked to her again and she said she had to wrestle him down and force it in him, but then he spit it everywhere. It reminded me of all the times that I had to literally sit on my youngest pinning her arms beside her to slowly inject the medicine into her mouth with a syringe.   She would gag, spit, scream, cry, and make herself so upset that she would throw the medicine right back up.  There was one time just after she was first diagnosed with Eosinaphillic Esophagitis that was so horrible that I was crying too. I was attempting to give her a new med.  I was literally sitting on top of her trying to get it in her mouth, and she worked herself up so bad that she actually threw up blood.  Of course that freaked me out and I just lost it.  I decided then that there had to be a different way. I could not continue to do that to her every day.  It was too traumatizing for both of us.  Her food therapist and I were also concerned that if I continued to have to force it in her, it was going to make her reject food even more.  We couldn’t let that happen. I had to make the difficult decision to not give it to her anymore.  I called the doctor and told him that he had to find another med or something instead of what we were doing.  I knew that she had to have the medicine or her esophagus would get much worse, but I just couldn’t do it.  Thankfully her amazing doctor had another thing to try, which turned out to be great and what she still uses today.

Trying to give liquid medicine to a child who has severe oral aversions is nearly impossible, but I know that it can be difficult to give any young child medicine especially when they are not feeling well to begin with.  Let’s face it, most liquid medicines are disgusting, and their little brains cannot comprehend the fact that the medicine will make them feel better no matter how many times you say it.  You would think with all of the advancements and research in medications, they would be able to come up with something to make them taste better.  I know that you can get flavor added to some medications for kids, but those options were never available for the types of medicines my daughter had to take. Honestly, those flavors often don’t really make it taste a whole lot better anyway.

I see moms posting on Facebook and Instagram all the time asking advice on how to get their child to take their medicine.  I did it myself back in the day and am reminded of it every single year when it pops up in my Facebook memories. I think I have tried every single trick that is out there with my daughter.  She has taken at least 4-5 medications a day since she was 4 years old, and she will be 11 in 2 days. That’s a long time and a lot of medicine. None of those tricks ever really worked for us, though. We tried everything like hiding it in the one food that she would actually eat (applesauce), and that just made her refuse to eat applesauce, which was life threatening for her.  I tried bribery, sitting on her, holding her nose so she had to open her mouth, blowing in her face to make her swallow, and even rubbing her throat to get her to swallow.  I know some of those sound horrible (Trust me, they were!), but when you are desperate to get medicine in your child because her survival depends on it, you are willing to do just about anything.  We, as parents, sometimes have to do whatever it takes. Thankfully now, my daughter is able to swallow pills, but even trying to get her to do that a few years ago was very difficult.  It never failed that when it was time to introduce a new medicine, my husband would be deployed and I had to bare the burden alone.  Those were some really tough days that are forever burned in my memory.  I honestly think that those rough days and me being the one that had to force it are part of the reason why she has had so much anger towards me over the years.  I was the bad guy. Sometimes moms have to be the bad guy.  We have no choice.  It is certainly not easy, but you have to do what you have to do.  Right, moms? Sometimes it really sucks, but it all comes with being a parent.  We just have to strap in and brave the bumpy ride. Just know that it will get better. My child is proof of that.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel, I promise! 

Anchored,

Letting Go

I know I am not alone when I say that 90% of what I say to my teenage daughter goes in one ear and out the other.  I would even go as far as saying that most of it actually doesn’t even enter her ears at all and just flies over her head in space somewhere.  I’m not kidding.  It is so frustrating. The look above is the one that I get a lot. It’s the “Ok, whatever mom” look. I honestly don’t know how to get through to her sometimes.  I really wish that I had a magic wand I could wave to get her to care. This is especially true when it comes to school and academics.  I cannot get her to care about school at all.  This has been her whole life, though, not just as a teen.  Don’t get me wrong, she makes good grades for the most part, but she really has no care in the world when it comes to school.  I keep thinking that one day she’s going to grow up and mature enough to start caring, but I am starting to loose hope.

Her attitude towards school is the total opposite of how I was growing up. I was the kid that would get upset when I got a grade that was low (and my standard of low for myself was much higher than most people would think was low).  I studied a lot. I cared about what classes I was taking.  I cared about making grades that would get me into a good college.  I didn’t want to disappoint my parents by not being near the top of the class. My parents never put that pressure on me, though. They didn’t have to.  I put the pressure on myself to always be perfect. It was just my nature to strive to be the perfect kid. I know that is one of my flaws.  I have always had this idea of what perfect looks like and that I had to be just that. My child, on the other hand, could care less about college and getting into a good school.  All she cares about is trying to do gymnastics in college, which is a highly unlikely scenario. I think it frustrates me so much because I just don’t understand how she could not care about these things. She gets a bad grade and it doesn’t faze her at all, even when she knows that she will be in trouble when we see the grade. It honestly makes me want to pull my hair out on a regular basis. 

I will go on record to say that I think part of her feelings towards school is a result of how hard school is for her.  She has a mild learning disability in reading and writing which makes those things harder for her.  She takes regular classes and doesn’t get any extra support in school anymore because she doesn’t need it.  I just think her struggles in her early years with reading turned her off from school and learning.  Another part of it is that school just isn’t a priority for her.  Gymnastics has been her life since she was one year old. That’s her priority. That’s what she cares about.  That is her sole focus in life.  Maybe we messed up when we pulled her out of regular school to do virtual school those two years of middle school.  We did that mainly because the schools where we lived at the time were horrible.  She certainly wasn’t getting the best education there where she had to evacuate the school for 2-3 bomb threats a month.  In her mind, though, we did it so that she could train more in gymnastics.  While that was a part of the decision, it certainly was not the main reason.  Maybe that sent her the wrong message that school was less important than gymnastics.  I don’t know.  As a parent you are always second-guessing your decisions.  I still believe it was the right decision for her education, but maybe it wasn’t the right decision for her mindset.

All of this has been on my mind this week because we had to put in her request for classes for next year. I was really trying to encourage her to take more honors and AP classes, and she was fighting me on it every step of the way.  She doesn’t take it seriously at all, which drives me nuts. I know that those harder classes will be difficult for her and that she will struggle, and I know that she doesn’t want to put in the effort it takes in those classes. BUT…I also know that it looks better on her transcript for college if she takes those classes and does well in them. She doesn’t care, though. She doesn’t think ahead to the future.  She only cares about the here and now. My struggle comes with how much to push her. How much pressure do I put on her? Is it worth it? Do I just accept the fact that this is who she is and let it go? Being a parent is so hard.  I honestly sit in my car driving the carpool to practice in the afternoons and listen to my daughter’s teammate talk about all of her homework and how she stays up to 2:00 AM doing schoolwork after practice.  I see how stressed and overwhelmed she is about school because she is in all honors and AP classes.  Do I really want that for my child? I don’t want her stressed out and up all hours doing work.  There has to be some kind of balance for these kids.  Ugh! Why is it so hard? 

I guess the only thing I can do is to continue to pray about her and what the future holds for her, and then just try to make the best decisions I can for her. I am coming to realize that I have to let go of my idea of who I think she is supposed to be and accept who she really is.  It is clear that I can’t change her, and as I think about it, I am not sure I want to anymore.  She is who she is and she will become who she is meant to be.  Maybe my previous expectations for her were never realistic. Maybe I was projecting my idea of perfect on her just like I have always done to myself.  I have talked about learning to accept myself for who I am, imperfections and all, but I have never considered until now that I was projecting that same idea of “perfect” onto her. I think it is time to let that go.  My thinking is flawed.  I have to change my mindset. I have to let her be who she is meant to be.  My idea of perfect is wrong.  She is perfect just the way she is.  Yes, I still need to guide her, but I don’t have to force her to be like me. I have to let go. I have to let her choose her path and make her own mistakes. I have to let her be. It’s hard, but it is how I have to go forward. I have learned that when you finally let go and let God take control, great things/magical things will happen. That is what I have to do. I’m letting go and letting God.

Anchored and Letting Go,